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tv   BBC News  BBC News  June 17, 2017 12:00pm-12:31pm BST

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this is bbc news. i'm ben brown near grenfell tower in west london where 30 people are confirmed dead — but with that number expected to rise significa ntly. the bbc understands 70 people are dead or missing. the latest headlines... the queen said it was difficult to escape a very sombre national mood in the light of recent tragedies as she leads a minutes silence for the those killed in the london fire disaster ahead of the trooping the colour ceremony. 0n on her official birthday. angry residents are demanding justice for the victims of the tower block fire — but ministers have defended theresa may's handling of the disaster. the prime minister is distraught about what has happened, as everyone
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in the country is. we all desperately sad and angry, but none of us as angry as those directly affected. i'm chris rogers, the other main headlines on bbc news... pc keith palmer who tried to stop the terror attack in westminster has been awarded the george medal for his bravery as the queen's birthday honours are announced. among others to be recognised is the scottish comedian and actor, billy connolly, who's been knighted. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. we arejust outside we are just outside the grenfell tower scene of the terrible disaster
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here, the official death toll currently stands at 30. the bbc understands 70 people are dead or missing and we expect a news conference with the police and fire brigade in the next hour or so, which we may get an updated casualty figure and the latest progress on the investigation inside the building. the queen has issued a statement to mark her official birthday. it has been described as unprecedented. let's read it. it is quite remarkable from her majesty. to those in desperate need. this was the moment that the queen
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and the duke of edinburgh held a minute's silence for the victims of the grenfell tower fire. that was the minute's silence just ahead of the trooping of the colour to mark the queen's official birthday. let's talk to our royal
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correspondent nicholas witchell at buckingham palace. talk to us more about this very unusual statement from her majesty the queen. about this very unusual statement from her majesty the queenm about this very unusual statement from her majesty the queen. it is. i think it would have been impossible for them not to have been some acknowledgement on this day, which isa acknowledgement on this day, which is a day of celebration and ceremony, the ceremonial high point of the year, the queen's birthday parade, it would have been untenable for them to have gone ahead without in some way reflecting the particular, unusual and tragic circumstances. the queen, is nonpolitical head of state, her role is to embody and to give expression to the feelings of the nation at moments like this. she went to g re nfell tower moments like this. she went to grenfell tower yesterday, she was undoubtedly very struck by what she saw and heard. this morning at 6am this statement was issued from
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buckingham palace, unprecedented on the queen's official birthday, for a statement such as this to be issued, talking, as you mentioned, of the sombre national mood after a succession of terrible tragedies. then the insertion of the minute's silence into the programme was very much done at the last minute. we asked buckingham palace at 9am and up asked buckingham palace at 9am and up to 10am whether there would be a minute's silence, as one might suppose appropriate in these circumstances. we were told then there were no plans to any change in there were no plans to any change in the programme, it was added at 1045, just before the queen left buckingham palace. we saw the photos of his standing with the duke of edinburgh observing the minute's silence, which was also observed by the troops who were on horse guards parade by then. this ceremonial day has been an opportunity for the queen to lead and reflect the nation's sadness.
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nick, she was here along with prince william at the scene and clearly affected by what she has seen. she said in her statement, having visited victims of the other tragedies we have seen in recent weeks as well? yes, it is important to say that both the statement and the minute's silence were in tribute to those lost in the tower fire and also those lost in the terrorist atrocities in manchester and london. this was a moment when all of those in the succession of terrible tragedies, as she referred to them in the statement this morning, the purpose of the minute's silence was to remember all of those. in years gone by the queen was rather hesitant to visit the scene of a terrible tragedy in the immediate aftermath of that tragedy, but on this occasion she was there, as you
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say, yesterday, with prince william who, after all, has been and is a member of the emergency services as an airambulance member of the emergency services as an air ambulance helicopter pilot. i think the fact that he was there with his grandmother made it perhaps easierfor her to with his grandmother made it perhaps easier for her to take on a task such as that and she is able to do that, i think, such as that and she is able to do that, ithink, with such as that and she is able to do that, i think, with confidence and empathy, to empathise with the people that with her grandson with her. i think that was very evident in the pictures that we saw our per visit, and with prince william at the end of the visit as some people called out to them, prince william saidi called out to them, prince william said i will be back, and i have no doubt he will be. i think that crossgenerational duo visiting g re nfell tower crossgenerational duo visiting grenfell tower yesterday was perhaps very effective in enabling them to express their sympathy for what has happened, their horror for what has happened, their horror for what has happened, which has been further expressed by this unprecedented statement from the queen this morning on the occasion of her
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official birthday. thank you so much, nick, nicholas witchell. we are outside a methodist church which has been used as one of the emergency centre isjust has been used as one of the emergency centre is just a stone's throw from grenfell tower, down the road there is a catholic church, right now there is a catholic mass under way in memory of the victims of this terrible disaster. it is... is being attended by the archbishop of westminster, cardinal vincent nichols. i was there a little earlier and was told by the priest that members of the community could go into the church throughout the morning tojust sit go into the church throughout the morning to just sit and meditate and think about the victims before this catholic mass at saint pius church. this is such a community of so many
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different religions, so many cultures, catholic, protestant, and the whole community coming together at this dreadful time. we have seen in the last day or so notjust grief and shock but that grief and shock turning increasingly to anger. community leaders have said they have been trying to combat anger, but understandable nonetheless. let's speak to one of the volunteers who was helping to coordinate the emergency at the —— who is helping. you have been working hard, how was it going? really, really well. the volu nteers it going? really, really well. the volunteers are in high spirits and doing everything they can to put everything into storage, i wanted to touch upon your point, we are calling for people to be calm and there are lots of peace ceremony is being conducted. by the wisdom comes
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from heaven, it is pure, peace—loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and bears good fruit. we want to be peacemakers, there is enough grief and we do not want it to be confused that your kindness is taken for weakness, this atrocity should not have happened but we want to respond and love so that the grieving feel supported by the community. do you understand the anger? definitely, there need to be answers and we need to respond to that, but if you are here at this scene there are so many people grieving and weeping, i don't think lashing out, the news and the press do a greatjob but yesterday was not a true reflection of what happened. i was at latimer church and all we did all day was box up thousands of boxes to send to storage, all over the news there are riots and kicking down doors. that is not a true reflection. if you we re is not a true reflection. if you were on the ground you would know the community spirit, it is in the
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hands of people in the press like you to show a balanced view, people are angry but people are living. we have been trying to show the incredible efforts from the community to bring in aid, we understand you have enough supplies now? we have too many supplies now. we wa nt now? we have too many supplies now. we want to thank the van drivers, people opening homes, i would love the conversation going between storage and donation centres, i have not seen any council members, we are doing this very organically, doing our best to lead a community where we are still mourning very much. that is one of the issues, we are hearing that people are still sleeping on floors, people who have been made homeless by this, and that the government task force which has been created is meant to be on the ground today, have you seen any evidence of it? no, there is a lot of talk of the community saying why are people sleeping on floors when
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houses are available, in the richest borough you could purchase a block of buildings that house people. i am not saying it is that straightforward but there are ways in which... people on the ground thinking why can this happen? if it will take the community to do it, let's band together and get things done. a few days after this disaster, it is such a difficult time, the grief is still so raw because people are still... not everybody knows what has happened to their loved ones? there are a few clips going around, one of the ladies who was really grieved, and the grief is understandable, we are not saying you cannot grieve because, of course, you look back and see all the information going out, but can i encourage people to hug people in grief? people are very in need of a hug and consolation. a bottle of water and a hug go hand—in—hand very, very well. bottle of water and a hug go hand-in-hand very, very well. very good advice, thank you so much. that was one of the terrific volunteers doing such amazing work here in the shadow of grenfell tower. let's get
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more on the politics of this. we saw an interview with prime minister theresa may yesterday after a difficult day when she came here. she promised £5 million of government spending to help the victims. 0ur political correspondent emma vardy is on whitehall for us. talk of this task force, not much sign of it on the ground? that's right. we understand at the moment that the prime minister herself is chairing this grenfell tower recovery task force, we understand there are representatives that the cabinet office this moment from various departments, the treasury, the home office, the department for communities and local and. we expect to hear some outcome from the task force in the next hour. the government has faced a very challenging few days over this situation is hostility has increased, there have been increasing calls and frustration from local people as anger has
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boiled over, not least because of the situation facing people directly affected by this tragedy and also because of peoples needs to find a nswe rs because of peoples needs to find answers and there need to see authorities held accountable. the first secretary of state, damian green, attempted to provide some a nswe rs green, attempted to provide some answers as he spoke to the bbc this morning. he said there was £5 million of emergency funding that had made available but that there would also be additional funds to assist people with further expenses assist people with further expenses as we go forward. there have been complaints about some sort of chaos or lack of answers on the ground from people looking to find out news about loved ones being looked after in local hospitals. damian green also said there was a more coordinated plan in place to assist people with this. after the meeting yesterday of the recovery task force, there is no, from today on the ground, a central operation, precisely to answer all
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those perfectly reasonable questions that people have in these desperate circumstances. there will be a combination of the local council and central government, the department for communities and local government and other departments as necessary, representatives of those departments have been on the ground immediately accessible to the residents all those questions can be answered. we've moved very fast to set up a public inquiry. we want that to be set up as fast as possible, we will appoint a judge as chairman within days rather than weeks, we have said it will produce interim reports so people will not have wait a long time very importantly, the residents will have a direct voice. they will be consulted on the terms of reference of the public inquiry and if they want legal representation at the public inquiry, the government will pay for that, so the residents' voices will be heard very loud at the public inquiry, that is the body
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which will look at the cladding and all the other issues that have arisen. course some of the key questions facing ministers at the moment will be what more can be done to help the emergency services who are going through the slow process of searching the upper floors of g re nfell tower. searching the upper floors of grenfell tower. but also what arrangements need to be in place to re—home people and have been made homeless by this tragedy. people are calling out to be re—homed within the borough of kensington and chelsea but we know that is extremely difficult, with very short housing supply in that area. we have also heard today that this afternoon residents of grenfell tower, the survivors, will be meeting the prime minister, theresa may, at downing street this afternoon. you get the sense that with emotions running high, it has been difficult for ministers to provide satisfactory a nswe rs ministers to provide satisfactory a nswers to ministers to provide satisfactory answers to people who are so consumed with shock and grief. the government has said it is determined
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to build trust with the local community. thank you very much indeed. at this notting hill methodist church, like in so many churches and emergency centres, flowers are being left, candles, in memory of the dead and the missing. pictures of those who are still unaccounted for as well. let's speak to a woman is very worried —— let's speak to a man who is very worried about a friend of his. she was with her child in the building. you fear she has died. nobody knows where she is now. we are so nobody knows where she is now. we are so confused. some of us, we are not happy, because she is a very nice lady in the community. and you from... ? sierra leone. nice lady in the community. and you from...e sierra leone. the community from sierra leone. your
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friends together. she was living on the 14th floor? do you know what may have happened to her, did anyone speak to her once the fire had started ? speak to her once the fire had started? people said she was living in this place. we have all seen the pictures. they have sent the pictures. they have sent the pictures on what's out. she was nice to everyone. she does not pick anyone. she was nice. some of us have come to see the site. we have come to see if she is about. when i came back to see the picture of her, i was confused and crying. we will miss her a lot in the community. yes. she was with her two—year—old son, jeremiah. yes. she was with her two—year—old son, jeremiah. yes, two years, jeremiah. son, jeremiah. yes, two years, jeremiah. we are praying for them. may god give them a good road. if they are alive. may god might bring
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them back —— may god bring them back. anyone in the building, may god help them. it is a few days after this terrible disaster. there is such grief here, but also, and we have seen it recently, anger about what has happened. everybody is confused. everybody wants to know about each other, loved ones around in the building. everybody is confused. we are just praying. let the government give whatever they can do. thank you so much for being with us. it is such a distressing time, i know, but thanks for taking the time to talk to us. and lots of other peoples still worried about people who are missing and unaccounted for, but we do believe, the bbc understands, that 70 people are now either dead or unaccounted for. that is the total. we will
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possibly get an update. we are expecting the police and fire brigade to give a news conference at around one o'clock where we may get more details on the latest casualties figures. the government task force, which is being chaired by theresa may, not much sign of it on the ground, but the volunteers working hard to help those made homeless and affected by this disaster. back to you in the studio. thank you for that update. we will bring you more information when we get it. we expect a press conference around one o'clock. some other news and events from around the country and indeed the world. events are taking place across the country this weekend to mark the first anniversary ofjo cox's murder. the great get together, as it's called, has been organised by herfamily. the idea is forfriends, neighbours and others they don't yet know to spend time with each other. we can join our correspondent fiona trott now in heckmondwike in west yorkshire, which is in batley and spen,
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jo cox's former constituency. here with family and friends and those who probably did not even know her as well. that is right. lots of people have been coming here to speak to members ofjo cox's family, wanting to say hello and give them their thoughts and condolences. a hundred or so people have been here this morning. there is a party going on in the centre of this part in heckmondwike, in the centre ofjo cox's former constituency, the focus of the great get together this weekend. let me introduce you tojo cox's husband and her sister. as a family you have organised this weekend. it explained how important it is that everybody in the community and across the uk gets together? for us, it was thinking about how we take forward jo's legacy, the thing she cared about. she was about bringing communities together. she wanted to build a community, to bring people
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together from different types and backgrounds. she would be humbled by the skill of the response. we know of about 120,000 events across the country. what that shows is the sense that the country is crying out for these moments of togetherness. we have spent so much time talking about the things we disagree with each other on, and people want that balance. even today, we have heard the queen saying it is hard to escape the sombre mood in the country at the moment. yes, and our hearts go out to everybody in london who has been affected by the horrendous fire this week. some terrible things have happened in re ce nt terrible things have happened in recent times. it is difficult to work against that, but whenever we can, we need to provide a counterbalance to that and send a positive message, saying, the community is very strong and diverse majority of people in this country are very good. we have given a platform to people, and people are gone, that is a great idea, let's do
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something positive. it is amazing to see that locally and nationally. people forget how easy it is to bring people together and lived each other‘s spirits? bring people together and lived each other's spirits? yes, and unfortunately it takes something really bad for us to build together sometimes. do not wait for something bad to happen, just do it anyway. what would jo think of this this weekend? she would love it. the kids over eating too many pancakes. they have had about six ice creams. they have had about six ice creams. they will be bouncing around for the rest of the day but it is the sort of thing she would have thrown herself into. she would have been buzzing around. how do we focus on those things, the things she talked about in her maiden speech? we fixate on the differences, but people across the country will be coming togetherfor a moment people across the country will be coming together for a moment and celebrating the things we have in common, which this weekend includes good weather. we are also hearing the great news that bernard kenny,
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the great news that bernard kenny, the man who came to the assistance ofjo, he is receiving a gallantry medal. yes, the recognition of him and the two police officers that we re and the two police officers that were involved, and sandra major, who was with jo, were involved, and sandra major, who was withjo, it were involved, and sandra major, who was with jo, it shows were involved, and sandra major, who was withjo, it shows the were involved, and sandra major, who was with jo, it shows the fact that these people put their lives on the line, greg king this, great service, again, one of the mistakes we make, we have says and spend so much of her time thinking about the people that do harm, evil, those driven by fear and hatred, but the vast majority of people in our country are not like that. moments like the birthday honours celebrate those things, the thousands of people who are driven by kindness and service. that balance is important. lots of time this has been shown to both of you today, people speaking to you. what does it mean to the family that eve ryo ne what does it mean to the family that everyone is here? it has got us through, the community has embraced us through, the community has embraced us in the last year. without that,
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who knows what would have happened. we are a positive family and a nod to be beaten. the fight we know that help and support as they are, for mum and dad in particular, it has been an absolute strength. thank you for speaking to us. around 120,000 events taking place across the country. people here in heckmondwike wa nt country. people here in heckmondwike want this to be an annual get—together. it is hoped that events like these will bejo's lasting legacy. indeed. thank you very much for that. good to hearfrom indeed. thank you very much for that. good to hear from the family ofjo cox is well on what must be an overwhelming day for them, seeing so many people around the country getting together in memory ofjo cox. let's bring you up—to—date on what is happening off the coast of japan. us officials say seven crew members are unaccounted for after a us navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship off the east coast of japan. the uss fitzgerald was seriously
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damaged after it was struck by a philippine registered container ship in the middle of the night. among the injured is the ship's commanding officer who has been taken to hospital by helicopter. sarah corker reports. the uss fitzgerald sustained significant damage to its starboard side. in the middle of the night, it somehow collided with a container ship on the approach to tokyo bay. seven sailors are still missing. three crew members were airlifted to hospital, including the ship's commanding officer, who is in a stable condition. the total number of injured is unknown. the incident happened at 2:30am local time on saturday, 56 nautical miles south—west of yokosuka, a busy commercial waterway. this is the merchant vessel involved, the philippine registered acx crystal, with relatively light damage on the port bow. the fitzgerald, with a crew of more than 300 sailors, started taking on water, with at least three compartments flooded.
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there is major damage to the ship. any time you hear a vessel is taking on water, it means the hull has been breached. this was notjust bumping each other, this was a serious collision. we will have to see why it happened, why the vessels did not see each other, or did not communicate clearly or if there was something else going on. the fitzgerald is a guided missile destroyer based at yokosuka. in february, a $21 million upgrade and repair was completed. its role is to support security and stability in the asia—pacific region. with the help of the coast guard, the warship is heading back to port slowly under its own power. these kind of incidents are rare, but how did a warship with one of the most advanced naval radar systems hit a huge container ship in open water? the queen's birthday honours list has been released.
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julie walters and june whitfield have received damehoods and there's also a knighthood for billy connolly. in a break with tradition, the queen's civilian gallantry list has been released at the same time. 0ur entertainment correspondent, lizo mzimba, has more. several people are being recognised for their bravery. among them, pc keith palmer, killed as he tried to stop a man from entering parliament in the westminster attack in march, he has been awarded a posthumous george medal. for pcs craig nicholls and jonathan wright, who arrested the man who killed jo cox mp, queen's gallantry medals. bernard kenny, who was with the mp, received the george medal. he sano and he tried to save her and we cannot thank him enough. and the two boys, similarly unarmed, just went in. they knew that he was armed, but not a thought. theyjust went in. we are absolutely delighted. true heroes. and the last surviving member
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of the famous dambuster raids, johnnyjohnson, has been made an mbe. in the world of music, 1960s eurovision winner sandie shaw becomes an mbe. chart—topping singer ed sheeran has also been made an mbe. i'm on record as having said, why would i learn algebra, i have no intention of going there! billy connolly says his knighthood is likely to produce a strong response from fans. some will say high time, and some will say "what the hell is all that about? " i don't know what to prepare for. terry and june and absolutely fabulous's june whitfield has been made a dame. just a few of over 1,000 people being honoured. lizo mzimba, bbc news. helen willetts has the weather. a
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largely sunny picture, less clout than yesterday, temperatures sleeping. not only fall, clothes and northern ireland in western scotland with some rain, that is because of the weather front, but away from that, unusually high uv levels across england and wales. that sunshine continues to the rest of the day. however, it will be rather damp and breezy affair across the north—west highlands of scotland, today the rain will affect the northern isles as well. cooley here, but temperatures reaching the central 20s, in the south and east it could be as high as 28 or 29. if we do not see 30 today we almost certain to tomorrow, temperatures overnight


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